Chris Burch’s Vision of Legend and Luxury for Nihi Sumba Resort


After nearly 40 years of experience as an investor, Chris Burch opened the private investment company, Burch Creative Capital, in New York. Of course, he uses flawless financial practices in his company, but he also takes advantage of his well-earned creative skills. His financial practices and his creative skills give him the means to develop, nurture, reinforce and adjust the businesses and brands that have proven themselves to be problematic.

In his career, Chris Burch has played a role in the growth of more than 50 companies that fit the distressed description above. His company has managed to do this by attending to Mr. Burch's values as an entrepreneur and his need to follow innovative opportunities in the market.

Even though his teachers didn't think that he was going to amount to very much, Chris definitely proved them wrong. The term wasn't used at the time, but it seems as if Mr. Burch had what is now called "Attention Deficit Disorder." His inability to focus on his studies caused him to be the last one in his class. The teachers informed his parents that young Chris would not have a bright future ahead of him.

Chris's parents had more faith in him than his teachers did, so they enrolled him in New Hampshire's Tilton Prep School. Chris went to work in his father's construction business at this time, and that is where he discovered that he didn't particularly enjoy manual labor. This realization led him to start his first apparel company that he named after his father, The Eagle.

The Nihi Sumba Resort

The Nihi Sumba Resort used to be a place that only a clique of surfers frequented, but after Chris Burch put his fingerprint on it, it became a luxurious beach resort. Sumba Island in Bali, Indonesia, is the fortunate location where the resort now stands, and the magazine, Travel + Leisure, named it one of the world's best hotels.

Chris Burch is the reason that the Sumba Nihi Resort has become such a great success in such a short period of time. He became interested in the project just four years ago, but it isn't a surprise that he has been able to do what he has done. For example, one of his previous successes has been Voss Water, and he used his financial practices and his creative skills to make it work. In addition to that, he also worked directly with Ellen DeGeneres as she started her lifestyle brand that is known as "ED."

Nihi History

Nihi Sumba used to be called "Sandalwood Island," and it is twice as large as Bali, but more people live on Bali than Sumba. Sumba Island has approximately 600,000 people, and Bali has more than 4 million people. Chris Burch makes a point of keeping Sumba Island exactly as he found it, so he doesn't allow too many outside influences to invade the island. Portuguese explorers discovered the island in the 16th century, and ever since that time, people haven't been coming to the island in large numbers. That's why there hasn't been any industrialization that has damaged the natural beauty of the island.

There is a legend attached to Nihi Sumba Island. Hundreds of years ago, the Marapu people arrived on the shore, and the people living there today are highly influenced by their spirit. The Marapu people's spirit is believed to be the reason that the island has remained largely as it was in the beginning. People who arrive on Nihi Sumba just happen to be people who are intent upon preserving the island's unique character. In this way, the stories of the Sumbanese people remain as alive in the present day as they were in days past.

In 1988, Claude and Peter Graves believed that they had found the place where they would experience the "perfect wave." They were determined to create a resort that would honor the traditions of the island and all of its beauty. The name they gave the beach was "Nihiwatu." This name meant "mortar stone," a name that settlers gave the location because of the rock formation that exists there.

The Present Day

In 2012, Chris Burch heard that Claude Graves needed someone to help him increase the beautiful Nihiwatu. Mr. Burch gave James McBride a call, and the two of them sought to set up a deal to purchase the property. Mr. McBride was involved in the hotel business and was president of YTL Hotels in Singapore when he heard from Mr. Burch.

Mr. McBride has spent 25 years in the hotel industry, and he has been given the opportunity to lead some of the world's best hotels. Bloomberg Businessweek's Bloomberg 50 named him as "One to Watch" in the recent past. Hotels Magazine also named him as "Independent Hotelier of the World."

Chris Burch decided to take a trip to the island to see if it really lived up to its reputation. He took his three sons with him, and he discovered that the island was a true gem. He made the decision to purchase the property with Mr. McBride, and they spent $30 million to renovate the property that was already there, but they turned it into a fantastic, ostentatious resort.

At the time, Chris Burch said that he purchased the island for his children, but he also wanted to ensure that the island would always remain as it currently was. He was pleased to learn that he would be encouraged to do things that he knew he couldn't do in any other place in the world, and one of those things was to build a spa underneath a waterfall.

The Nihi Sumba Resort is the largest employer of the local people, so it is extremely important to the island. Because 98 percent of the staff is local islanders, the island and the community are both huge beneficiaries of the resort. Mr. Burch doesn't have any plans to do anything with the property that would disturb either the environment or the people, but he does plan to perform renovations on the property that would be very positive for everyone.

The Location

The resort's location does more than offer surfers a great place to surf; the island has many activities that make it an industrious place to vacation. The island boasts of several fascinating sites, and these include locations that date back to the Stone Age. Visitors also have the opportunity to see what a traditional village looks like. They can take hikes on butterfly trails or engage in mountain biking, paddle boarding, horseback riding or even a Land Rover safari.

Those who wish to spend a relaxing day at the resort can enjoy the spa. The resort's wellness center offers guests the option of attending its daily yoga sessions. If group sessions do not appeal to a guest, he or she is welcome to schedule a private lesson that will be tailored toward the individual's personal desires.

The resort has its own chocolate factory, and trips into the villages are a must where the markets offer visitors a large selection of the island's local arts and crafts. The burial sites and the Ikat textiles that are known all over the world also beckon visitors.

The Sumba Foundation

Sean Downs, an entrepreneur who made millions in the tech industry, teamed up with Claude Graves to form "The Sumba Foundation." The poverty of the island has had grave consequences for the people, so Mr. Graves and Mr. Downs set up the foundation to alleviate those consequences. The foundation was created in 2001 and then Chris Burch did what he has a habit of doing. He took over the project, and he uses profits from the resort to provide the people with clean water and meals at school for the children. The foundation also helps improve the educational system and opens maternity clinics. According to the foundation, 20,000 people are receiving the benefits that the foundation provides the island.

Chris Burch placed the foundation's mission statement on the Nihi website. It states, "The foundation believes that each and every one of us has a responsibility to better use our position and resources to help people living in poverty realize their needs and vision of a better world."

Visitors aren't the only ones who enjoy Nihi Sumba Island. Chris Burch also relishes the time that he gets to spend there with his children, but he really enjoys the pleasure that he sees in the faces of his guests.

Burch Creative Capital

Chris Burch explained where his idea for Burch Creative Capital came from. He realized that he was blessed with an inordinate amount of knowledge and resources. These are assets that not every hopeful entrepreneur has, so he wanted to help. With his company, he brings people who have great ideas together with the capital they need to get started in business. The industries that he and his company are currently involved in include technology, organic foods, hospitality, home furnishings and fashion. The company's portfolio now includes TRADEMARK, Nihi Sumba Island, Cocoon9 and ED by Ellen DeGeneres.

Burch Creative Capital also has holdings in real estate. He has partnered with Philippe Stark and Alan Faena and will be working with these two powerhouses to create Faena Hotel + Universe in Argentina.

Accolades for Nihi Sumba Resort

Readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine voted for Nihi Sumba as the "#1 Hotel in the World" in the magazine's World's Best Awards in both 2016 and 2017.